Final Window Decisions

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amers22
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Final Window Decisions

#1 Post by amers22 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:09 pm

I am in the final hours of making a decision on Windows. I have put a deadline on myself of tomorrow. If I push it off, it will never get done.

I have narrowed it down to 3 choices.

1. Soft-Lite Pro (Super Spacer)
2. Okna 500 Series (Deluxe Insultec Energy glass package)
3. Plygem (Triple Pane)

The Plygem is the most expensive. But 3 are real close in price that cost would not make a difference. I just want to get a good window to replace the 30 year old wooden pieces of crap I have now.

Need advise IMMEDIATELY,

Coach

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Window4U (IL)
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#2 Post by Window4U (IL) » Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:49 pm

As long as the installers of the Okna 500 are well respected and do good work, that window would be my first choice without question.

amers22
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#3 Post by amers22 » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:03 pm

Window4U (IL) wrote:As long as the installers of the Okna 500 are well respected and do good work, that window would be my first choice without question.
Can you help me understand why....Both are AAMA Gold, R-50, DP-50, 171 Structural, Air Infultration is a little better of .07 vs .02, one uses block n tackle the other constance force, full beveled heads, U-value is close.....

Given that my windows are over 40" would it not be wise to consider the softlite for the sash reinforcement factor??

Also, what about the whole foam window issue where Okna was part of the investigation.

There is more to the project than just windows. Other trim things. The whole project is $10K. I just want to make sure I have chosen wisely.

What MAKES the difference...

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Window4U (IL)
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#4 Post by Window4U (IL) » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:14 pm

amers22 wrote:
Window4U (IL) wrote:As long as the installers of the Okna 500 are well respected and do good work, that window would be my first choice without question.
Can you help me understand why....Both are AAMA Gold, R-50, DP-50, 171 Structural, Air Infultration is a little better of .07 vs .02, one uses block n tackle the other constance force, full beveled heads, U-value is close.....

Given that my windows are over 40" would it not be wise to consider the softlite for the sash reinforcement factor??

Also, what about the whole foam window issue where Okna was part of the investigation.

There is more to the project than just windows. Other trim things. The whole project is $10K. I just want to make sure I have chosen wisely.

What MAKES the difference...
I've been up for over 17 hours so I'll answer this with as few words as possible and still get my point across before I pass out for the night.
I've been doing this for 40 years now so I'll start with my experience with them. I've installed countless windows of all three models over the years. My experiences with the Okna compared to the Pro are like going from a 1970 caprice to a 2012 Audi. The Plygem is an average good midgrade. The Oknas work great, I have had pretty much zero service with them for years which I believe is a strong indicator of quality. I have also never heard any of my customers complain of an air leak or of shoddy looking manufacture. And from an installation standpoint, as an installer who has installed 50,000+ windows, I can tell quality just by handling the windows during installation and seeing how much tinkering you have to do to make the windows operate and seal properly. The Oknas are a dream.

The Pro is an old window design that was replaced by Softlite's newer offerings, the Elements and the Imperial LS. So, new design vs old design, mid-grade vs premium. That's my opinion. BTW, I am a dealer for the Okna and Softlite. And, I have availability for the Plygem as well through my siding supplier, so I am not giving this opinion because the others are competition.
The foam issue was a dealer problem, not Okna's, ....even though they stepped up and satisfied all the people. You can do a search here for the details.
Sorry if my answer is a bit discombobulated, but I'm typing and sleeping simultaneously.

masterext
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#5 Post by masterext » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:09 pm

the okna will have the best performance numbers of the 3 and also the best designed/ engineered.
the Okna 500 is a solid extrusion with a DP rating of 50 without reinfrcement. that shows just how solid this window is. the quality of yhe pvc used in the 500 is a very high grade so warping is a non issue.
the okna will not only have a better uFactor but also a very good air leakage rate; .02 .
plygem is mid grade while the okna 500 is a high grade..

buddy110
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#6 Post by buddy110 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:31 am

I'll echo Dave's sentiments also. Softlite is a good manufacturer also, but the window you're comparing it to is an older design. Plygem is a good company with an average window
Last edited by buddy110 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Windows on Washington
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Re: Final Window Decisions

#7 Post by Windows on Washington » Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:26 am

amers22 wrote:
Window4U (IL) wrote:As long as the installers of the Okna 500 are well respected and do good work, that window would be my first choice without question.
Can you help me understand why....Both are AAMA Gold, R-50, DP-50, 171 Structural, Air Infultration is a little better of .07 vs .02, one uses block n tackle the other constance force, full beveled heads, U-value is close.....

Given that my windows are over 40" would it not be wise to consider the softlite for the sash reinforcement factor??

Also, what about the whole foam window issue where Okna was part of the investigation.

There is more to the project than just windows. Other trim things. The whole project is $10K. I just want to make sure I have chosen wisely.

What MAKES the difference...
Both windows will serve you well in this case, however, the performance nod goes to the Okna 500 in this case.

While the difference in air infiltration numbers may appear slight (it is) the Okna is a far newer design and as mentioned, the Soft-Lite Pro is an older model that has since been replaced (to the extent that they have developed newer and more advanced extrusions and designs) by the Imperial LS and Elements.

If I were choosing a Soft-Lite window, I would opt for either of those two and the comparison windows in the Okna line would be the 500 and 800 series.

I would also say that the 500 series as a Deluxe model does give you a roughly 10% performance advantage over the Pro from a thermal performance standpoint too (0.28 vs. 0.25). If the prices are similar, opt for the tighter and more thermally efficient window. The 500 also gives you a tiny (1%) more visible light as compared to the Pro but that is very slight.

40" wide is quite alright and well within the engineering specification of the 500 given that it has a very thick mil thickness on its extrusion. If you really want reinforcement, opt for the 800 series at that point and you will have the equivalent window to the Elements and one of the 2-3 best vinyl windows on the market without question.

The foam issue, as mentioned, was dealer specific and has been retrofitted and closed out. This is why Okna moved to an inserted foam so that there isn't even the potential for partial fill rates.

What MAKES the difference...

Here is probably the most impactful question of all.

Comparing two relatively similar (nod goes to the Okna in performance) performing windows, the difference maker comes down to installation. The best window in the world installed by a hack will perform like garbage and you will be left with a substandard performing window/building opening.

Which company will do the best job on the installation and is using the most up to date installation protocols and materials? Is one company using spray foam and one is not? Is once company using premium coil and sealants and one is not? Have you seen work samples or talked to past customers?

Which company did you feel best about?

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Re: Final Window Decisions

#8 Post by TheWindowNerd » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:12 am

+1

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